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Thread: Standard for aircraft code

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    Default Standard for aircraft code

    Gents
    I need your advise.
    Was there any standard for the letters showing the aircrafts code on the side of the aircraft ?
    If so, was it the same from start of war to end of war ?
    Best regards
    Soren Flensted
    WWW.Flensted.EU.Com

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    Hello Soren:

    Yes, there were standards that changed over the course of the war.

    Good place to start is the Air of Authority site: http://www.rafweb.org/Squadrons/Sqn%.../sqn_codes.htm

    Are you looking at a specific type and period?

    Robert

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    Soren,
    Rob has given you the details (from Malcolm's invaluable RAFWEB site) of what should have happened - and when. However, if the relevant AMO did not arrive at RAF XStation, or - if at RAF XStation - the Sgt i/c Painting & Finishing Sect was AWOL/Sick/Posted, etc, etc, then it might have taken some time for the changes to become apparent at that location. Thus, there were - likely - to have been a number of a/c wearing different roundel specifications at the same time.
    You have to have spent, at least, a short period of time in the RAF to appreciate the sluggishness with which some admin changes actually occur!!
    HTH
    Peter Davies
    Meteorology is a science; good meteorology is an art!
    We might not know - but we might know who does!

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    Gents
    Thank you. As I am not allowed to upload attachments I shall have to ask you to contact me via my site and I shall send you the pictures. Thank you
    Best regards
    Soren Flensted
    WWW.Flensted.EU.Com

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    A good example of inconsistencies in applying squadron code letters are those carried by the Battles used in France during 1940. Some have the two squadron identification letters in front of the fuselage roundel, other have them after the roundel and there are examples of all three letters being applied in front of the roundel. Generally these were of standard letter height but there is evidence of very small letters being used (cannot find this at the moment).

    Ian
    Last edited by ian94avenge; 2nd August 2016 at 22:16.

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    The standard was the Squadron code came first, followed by the individual aircraft letter. So, on the left side of the aircraft the two letter code was ahead of the roundel, on the right side is was behind. As has been said, they were many variations and exceptions. I have seen photos of these codes being hand painted on aircraft, which tells me it was done in a hurry, perhaps without time to look up all the detailed instructions.

    One fairly common variation was dropping the squadron code, and just using the individual letter. A lot of RAF aircraft in France in 1940 had the squadron codes painted over, for security reasons. They wanted to keep the Germans guessing about how many aircraft were in France, and therefore how many remained in the UK. Some 2 TAF Mustang squadrons dropped squadron codes from 1944 and on, while most operational RCAF Squadrons in Canada and Alaska did it from October 1942. In Canada, this was done because of "pooling", where a central wing maintenance unit "owned" the aircraft, and "loaned" them to squadrons within the wing for missions.

    If you can find a copy of Robertson's great book "Aircraft Camouflage and Markings" this is all explained for the RAF and many other air forces. The minor variations over time can be used to roughly date photos. I say roughly because, as Resmoroh pointed out, new instructions took time to filter through the units.

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